James A. Garfield School 31 parent, Hope Rodgers, can’t help but rave about the listening tour that occurred in Indianapolis Public Schools earlier this year.

“I felt that my thoughts were listened to and valued,” Rodgers said. “Dr. Ferebee even sat down at our table and asked me for my ideas.”

The listening tour was just the start. Other parents across the district have reiterated Rodgers’ sentiments.

“I have noticed that with restructuring the staff is more involved with helping the parents be more involved in their kids’ education,” Wendell Phillips School 63 parent Hilda Henriquez said.

One form of restructuring came with revising the parent liaison position into a “Parent Involvement Educator.” Elda Peña, fills that position at Wendell Phillips.

One of her favorite changes from over the last year is a shift toward making parents more visible on committees like principal hiring, budget development and calendar development committees.

“Dr. Ferebee is a leader who saw the need of our schools, students and families,” said Peña. “He took the initiative to have a Listening Tour and listen to the concerns of parents, students and communities. Now, with the innovative changes that have and will continue to occur IPS is standing out and ‘Proud to be Public’ are words that many are proudly echoing.”

Sarah McAfee, Parent Involvement Educator at James Garfield, agrees with Peña.

“I truly feel that I see a shift from parental involvement to parental engagement in the district and I cannot wait to see what else can happen.”